South African Military History Society


NEWSLETTER NO.4. ISSUED: undated 1967.



The following gentlemen have been elected to serve on the Committee until our Second Annual General Meeting in 1968:-


Contributions for the first issue of the Society's journal must be in the hands of the Editor, Captain J.A. Ball, by not later than the end of August. Contributions, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, should be postod direct to Captain Ball at Rouxville, Johannesburg. Remember, it is YOUR journal and therefore YOUR contributions are going to decide whether it is to be a success and how often it is to appear. Don't leave it to the other chap; we are confident that each and every member is capable of making some contribution.


We are allied to the above Society whose object is to promote and foster a general interest in the study of military formation signs, regimental and unit flashes and similar cloth insignia. Members who require assistance in this sphere should address their queries to the Hon Secretary, Major J. Waring, Keynsham, Somerset, England.


This Society, with headquarters in Cape Town, is also allied to us. The aim of the Society is to serve the interests of those interested in arms and/or armour, and at present it consists mainly of a group of edgeweapon collectors. Members who require information on swords, daggers, and related weapons can contact the Hon. Secretary, Mr. N. Emms, "Merlin," Bergvliet, Cape Town.


For our medal enthusiasts we have the news that 1,344 V.C.'s have been won since its institution in 1856. The latest recipient is Lance-Corporal Rambahadur Limbu of the 2nd Battalion, lOth Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles. He won it during a hillside battle in Sarawak on the 21st November, 1965.


Mr. A. Rabone, John Graham Primary School, Milford Road, Plumstead, Cape Town, writes to say that Vol. 1 of the GRAAFF REINET HERALD (August, 1852 to August, 1853) mentions a number of regiments and military units. Copies of the HERALD are to be found in the Africana Museum, Johannesburg; the S.A. Public Library in Cape Town and in the Graaff-Reinet Museum. Mr. Rabone says he can also give references on the activities of Burgher Commando units and of the Fingo and Hottentot Levies.


Commandant (Rev.) C. Scott-Shaw, Wynberg, Cape Town. - Natal military history and Africana.
Mrs. R. Rainier, Walmer, Port Elizabeth. - Military history.
Mr. R.G. Steel, Donkerhoek, Natal. - Military history and relics.
Lt.-Col. W.A. Jeffs, Orange Grove, Johannesburg. - Military history.
Mr. G.A. Buchanan, Parkmore, Johannesburg. - Uniforms, Strategy and tactics, models and wargames.


Members who are interested in American badges of this nature may contact the Insignia Collectors Club, Box 71, Rockaway Park 94, N.Y., United States of America.


The Museums at Ladysmith and Colenso require certain British badges of the 1899 - 1902 period for their collections. Members who are able to assist should contact Dr. R.E. Stevenson, Pietermaritzburg.


Should any members be interested, a work study group was formed in Estcourt, Natal, to carry out research into the history of the Estcourt area. The group includes teachers on the staff of Estcourt's High School. They will work in conjunction with the Historical Association of South Africa.


The Journal of the Historical Firearms Society of South Africa - Vol, 3 No.5, Vol. 4 No, 1, Vol. 4 No.2.

The Formation Sign - being the journal of the Military Heraldry Society (England) - No. 65 and No. 66.

Looking Back - being the quarterly bulletin of the Historical Society of Port Elizabeth - Vol. VII No.1 and 2.

The Arms and Armour Society (South Africa)- two newsletters, publication on Indonesian edgeweapons and a Dictionary of Edge Weapons.


Our congratulations to Commandant G.R. Duxbury who was recently elected president of the S.A. Museums Association for a period of three years. He was appointed Director of the S.A. National War Huseum in 1951.
Congratulations are also extended to our Vice-Chairman, Major B.G. Simpkins, on his promotion to Commandant and Officer Commanding the Rand Light Infantry Regiment.


Attendance at our monthly meetings seems to be waning and we would stress that in order to keep up the sucess we have been enjoying to date, members should make a determined effort to attend and to bring along any interested friends. We would also like to hear from our country members who may be in Johannesburg on holiday.
At our meeting held on 13th April we had, for the first time, two speakers in one evening. They were Brigadier J. Willers of the Atlas Aircraft Corporation and Mr. A. Blake, an aviation journalist. Both spoke on aircraft production in South Africa. As guests we had the Johannosburg Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
At our meeting held on May 11th, Lt.-Col. Harry Klein spoke to us on the subject of psychological warfare. Col. Klein is the author of "Springboks in Armour."


Trade badges were worn from the inception of the Union Defence Force in 1912 until after the Second World War. They were generally worn on tho forearm except for non-commissioned officers who wore them above chevrons and warrant officers who wore them at the cuff. For undress blues they were gold and dark blue and worsted or metal on drab for service dress.


Negotiations are at present underway for the establishment of branches of the Society in Port Elizabeth and Durban. Members of the Society in Bloemfontein meet once monthly although there is no branch there. They have undertaken a few projects there of which more will be said later.

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